Sometimes it is not enough to merely stalk and kill your targets. Sometimes you want to have a permanent memento. So what better way to preserve the moment than to decapitate your victim, flense the skin off the head, preserve it, re-affix it to the skull, mount it on a plaque and hang it on your den wall?
Includes intelligent non-humans in sci-fi/fantasy works.
A Sub-Trope of Off with His Head!, Dead Guy on Display, Taxidermy Is Creepy and Creepy Souvenir. If the victim was a Worthy Opponent, then you also have a Battle Trophy. Compare Decapitation Presentation, which is usually a bit more informal; and Shrunken Head, which is the primitive tribal equivalent of this trope.
- In one of the creepiest scenes from Saint Seiya's Sanctuary arc, Seiya and Shiryu find out that the walls of the Cancer Temple are full of human faces. There's one face per each person that Cancer Deathmask, the Blood Knight among the Gold Saints, has killed - and their souls are bound to them. Understandably, neither of the boys react well to the discovery or to Deathmask's flippant reaction to their horror. When Shiryu kills Deathmask, he and Seiya soon see that the "heads/faces" are gone, meaning that the souls of these people are finally free.
- In the Teen Titans relaunch, Deathstroke is possessed by his son Jericho, who murders Slade's loyal butler Wintergreen and mounts his head on a wall.
- In Sin City, serial killer Kevin mounted the severed heads of six of the prostitutes he's murdered and eaten on plaques and hung them on the wall. This may have been inspired by the already creepy as hell "Stuffed" Girl's Heads ad.◊
- A variant occurs in the Vault of Horror story "Hook, Line, and Stinker!" where the victim is not a hunter but a fisherman—or so he says. When he claims to be out fishing, he's actually out cheating on his fiancee, and when she finds out she kills him and mounts his entire body on a plaque on the wall like a fishing trophy.
- This cover of Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition #2 shows Sela with the head of The Krampus mounted on the wall behind her.
- There's a rather famous piece of comicbook artwork◊ drawn by Brian Bolland featuring The Joker lounging in a chair in front of a trophy wall mounted with the decapitated heads of various DC heroes and villains, all of them painted white and their faces distorted into a smile like the Joker himself. It's even been parodied a bunch of times with other comic supervillains sitting in Joker's place.
- A Marvel Universe villain takes the name Zodiac and kills every single member of a team by the same name before mounting their heads on his wall.
- In Cat City, Gatto, the cat mob boss, has mounted cat heads on his wall.
- Played for Laughs on 9 to 5: Judy's fantasy about getting even with Bad Boss Frank is to hunt him down like wild game. It ends with Frank's head mounted on Judy's office.
- In The Most Dangerous Game, Rainsford finds a human head mounted on Count Zaroff's wall as he searches the mansion.
- Return to Oz combines this with People Jars in the form of Princess Mombi's hall of stolen heads in display cases. They're still alive, and Mombi can take off her own head and replace it with one from her collection.
- Dark and Stormy Night: At one point, during the brief blackout, Jack Tugdon is killed, his head taxidermied, and mounted on a wall.
- In The Fifth Elephant, this overlaps with What Measure Is a Non-Human? when Sam Vimes' group stays at a lodge in Uberwald and is horrified to find a mounted troll head. The troll in his squad is familiar enough with Fantastic Racism from humans that he simply remarks that he's glad things are better than they used to be — and shows them his grandmother's human Skull Cup as a reminder that it cut both ways.
- Also in The Fifth Elephant, Vimes meets a local werewolf clan in their pack leader's castle, and notices there are empty nails and patches of paler plaster on the wall around them, suggesting several hunting trophies have been taken down so as not to impede the smooth flow of diplomacy. Later in the book he learns about The Game, where werewolves hunt down humans.
- A variation in Great Expectations: Jaggers has masks of the petrified faces of criminals that he represented but who were hanged decorating his office.
- In Swellhead, the heroes exploring the supervillain's lair find a trophy room containing the preserved, mounted, and carefully labelled heads of everyone who has ever crossed him, starting with one of his grade school teachers and so on down to the freshly-mounted head of the guy the heroes left guarding their escape route.
- Steam Punk Egomaniac Hunter Lord Cockswain massacres the rare game of Venus in Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory. At the end of his illustrated journal, we see Cockswain's living room full of their mounted heads, including his alien Native Guide.
- Vasquez Private Eye ends with Johnson mounting Martha's head on his bedroom wall.
- One of the many ghastly customs of the Black family of dark wizards in Harry Potter was to have their house elves beheaded and their heads mounted like trophies once they'd become too old and sick to work. Kreacher's mother was among the victims of this practice.
- Diogenes Club: In "Swellhead'', a corridor in the Elaborate Underground Base is lined with the mounted heads of Swellhead's enemies and those who have displeased him. Stacy is disturbed to discover when she returns to the base that Kydd's head has been added to it.
- CSI: "Leapin' Lizards". They found a missing woman's head mounted on the wall like a trophy animal. She was murdered by UFO believers who were convinced she was a Reptilian queen.
- Night Gallery episode "Clean Kills and Other Trophies". When an evil trophy hunter forces his son to kill a deer, he is punished by African tribal gods. He is killed and his head is mounted on the trophy wall in his own house.
- Get Smart. Maxwell Smart has an Oh, Crap! moment when the Villain of the Week is into Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, and has a plaque already set up for Max's head.
- Played for Laughs (of course) in the Tom Lehrer song "The Hunting Song", from Songs by Tom Lehrer:
And there's ten stuffed heads in my trophy room right now:
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a pure-bred guernsey cow.
- The video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "CNR" has a brief look at a wall in Charles Nelson Reilly's house which is covered with trophy heads. One of them is human. Even better: it's Chuck Norris.
- At the end of the Music Video of "No One Knows" from Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age, a vengeful deer has mounted the band members heads above his bed after they hit him with their car.
- One Dilbert strip had Dilbert and Dogbert visiting a guy who had a bunch of creepy hunting trophies on his wall, they leave when he gets to his (former) neighbors.
- One single panel cartoon by George Trosley shows a proud trophy hunter in his den, giving a tour to one of his friends. They stop in front of an ugly woman's head mounted on a wall plaque, and the hunter remarks, "Yeah, that's my ex-mother-in-law. Took six cartridges to bring that bitch down."
- Seen as the page image for The Joker.
- In S.S.D.D the head of one particularly unpopular former First Adviser of the Collective of Anarchist States is mounted in their capital building's rec hall. Brought up when a later First Adviser demands the head of whoever programmed the nuke they'd just accidentally launched.
The Oracle: Well, you're in luck then.
- Parodied in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, where in one of Spongebob's panicked Imagine Spots he pictures Mr. Krabs mounting his and Patrick's butts on his wall as punishment for screwing up.
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson has a nightmare about Bart doing this to him (after a trip to the guillotine factory, which was the perfect place to shoot him) in the episode "Tennis the Menace."
- Peter the Great used a variant of this after having his wife's boyfriend executed, albeit preserving the head in a jar of alcohol rather than mounting it on a wall. According to some reports, he even put the jar on display in his wife's bedroom. For extra irony, said boyfriend was the brother of one of Peter's own mistresses.